Not so unexpectedly, Alabama will have rather sizable holes on both sides of the ball to fill in 2015.
Citing league sources, Yahoo Sports‘ Rand Getlin is reporting that safety Landon Collins will leave the Tide early for the NFL draft. A short time later, ESPN.com‘s Chris Low reported that both wide receiver Amari Cooper and running back T.J. Yeldon would be doing the same.
Neither the school nor the players have confirmed the move, although a confirmation should happen in short order as the deadline for early entry is exactly a week from today.
Cooper will enter the draft coming off a season in which set a slew of records, recording 124 receptions (first nationally) for 1,727 yards (second) and 16 receiving touchdowns (second) on his way to unanimous All-American status. The 2014 Biletnikoff Award winner is viewed as a potential, or even likely, Top-10 pick, so his decision to declare early won’t exactly come as a shock.
The move is far from surprising for Collins, too, as he is generally viewed as the top player at his position in draft projections and is viewed by some as a likely Top-10 selection.
In leading the Tide in tackles (102) and tying for the team lead in interceptions (three), Collins was named as a Thorpe and Nagurski finalist. After starting nine games as a second-team All-SEC performer in 2013, Collins was named first-team all-conference in starting all 14 games for the Tide this season.
Yeldon finished second on the Tide in rushing (979 yards) and tied for the team lead in rushing touchdowns (11). Because of the presence of Derrick Henry, and well as a stable full of backfield talent, Yeldon’s departure will likely be viewed as the least impactful.